You Can, Without a Man with Jessi Sexton | Inspiring Story #39 - Daily Inspired Life

One year after discovering her husband's cheating messages, Jessi turns her fears of being a single mom into her own single mom success story.

I sat on the couch, and my two dogs lounged across my lap. My three children played in the background while I watched the six o’clock news, simultaneously scrolling Facebook. My husband sat next to me, eyes glued to his phone, watching a game online.

Blip blip. I received a text from my cousin. “Hey, who’s the woman messaging your hubby on Instagram. She’s all over his Instagram account?”

I couldn’t resist a quick look at his Instagram account.

As I tapped through, I whispered to myself, “No way. There’s no way he would be cheating with another woman. We’d been married eight years, three kids. Our marriage was solid, wasn’t it? I had nothing to be suspicious of. No, it’s nothing.”


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Oh My God! I saw the message.

It was like a sledgehammer smashing against my chest. I kept scrolling through one message after the next - a whole string of private messages between him and two other women.


With each new message, the hammer hit harder, tearing through the flesh of my heart. 

I flicked over to his Facebook account. Oh My God! More messages between him and even more women.

I groaned out loud. Tears spilled out, running down my cheeks. My head pounded in rhythm with my heart, and I couldn’t think straight. Fury hit. My anger was as red and raw as the blood pumping through my veins. 

How could he do this?

I looked across at him. I threw my phone at him with as much power as a hammer thrower in the Olympics. The corner of my phone hit him right in the chest, and he looked up from his phone. Our eyes met. Immediately, I knew he knew, and he knew I knew. 

No more words were needed. I turned toward the front door. He blocked me, “No, no, Jessi, you’ve got it wrong.” He tried again to block me with his arm, so I couldn’t leave.

I turned, walked out the back door, got into my car, and drove until I found myself outside a Sonic. I sat in the parking lot eating ice cream and crying for over four hours. 

No way. There’s no way he would be cheating with another woman. We’d been married eight years, three kids.

I never imagined I'd be a single mom

What could I do?  I had built this life with a man I loved. I had three children with him. I was home-schooling our kids. I had put everything into this family. My world was crashing in on me. The thought of raising our three kids on my own was terrifying. No, not me! This couldn’t be happening to me. But it was.

The next day, I left my husband. I packed up my kids, and we stayed in a hotel for three days. I had zero intention of returning.

For a whole day, I didn’t eat anything. I couldn’t even drink water. When I finally forced food down my throat, I started throwing up. 

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I got up from the toilet bowl and stumbled over to the basin to wash my face. Who is that woman in the mirror? How can she take care of three kids alone? You’re not strong enough. What are you thinking? How can you support your children alone? You’ll lose the house. Just go home. Do it for them. If you had been a good wife, he wouldn’t have cheated. Just go home, and try and work it out. My inner voice tormented me.

Within two days, I returned to him. 

Over the next month, I lost roughly 20 lbs. I was depressed, and I felt worthless. I slacked at my management job at a local spa. I ended up losing my job. I questioned my existence as a wife and mother. I beat myself up with the same old words: “Why would he cheat if I had been the perfect wife.”

I questioned my existence as a wife and mother. I beat myself up with the same old words: “Why would he cheat if I had been the perfect wife.”


I discovered more messages on his phone – like before.

But this time, I was different. A beast awoke from inside me. The beast knew my husband’s actions weren’t about me. He was the one with the problems. Regardless of what type of wife I had been, he would have cheated, no matter what.

“No, I’m not taking this anymore,” I said to myself. I was a leader, not a follower, and I refused to live as my husband’s little toy another day. I had to come up with a plan for something better for me and my children. I just didn’t know what or how.

That afternoon, I drove past a sign that said … "Space Available for RENT."

I whipped my car into the parking lot. I didn’t know what I was going to say, but I dialed the phone number. A guy answered.

“Hi, this is Brent. How can I help you?”
“Ah. Ah. That space available for rent. Which unit is it? How soon can I see it?”

I wasn’t sure what I was doing. But Brent agreed to meet me right then. What did I have to lose?

The unit was the ugliest thing I had ever seen. The space had maroon and grey walls with gold stamping EVERYWHERE. There was an outdated elephant design border on the walls and, to make things worse, spiderwebs adorned every corner. I loathe spiders.

Brent asked what I wanted to do. I blurted out, “A salon!” (even though I had been a spa girl for eight years). Brent looked at me, surprised. He walked over to the corner and pulled the wall apart. He said, “Hmmm, this was a salon several years ago.” He showed me where the shampoo bowls were connected.

It was kismet.

I signed a five-year contract on the spot. Brent waived my deposit without me even asking. I think he was just so shocked I took the unit since it had been empty for years and was super gross.

I worked every single day for two weeks; painting and laying new flooring. I felt everything against me. But I had to succeed. I had no other option.

The month I opened my salon, I made $77. Which ‘proved’ to my ex that my business would be a failure. But I kept going. I worked so hard trying to get my business off the ground.

I was alone in my venture until someone did something very special to help me, and I will never forget her kindness.

A friend’s mother watched me work day and night to open my business. She saw the hours I was doing. How I had been taking my youngest child to work with me, just so I could get clients in the door. She stepped in and helped me pay for daycare, so I could work without distraction. To this day, I am so thankful.

The next month, I made a profit. I didn’t just break even. I flipping made a profit.

This was sooo going to work. At that point, I hadn’t thought about expanding or hiring staff. I just needed to get by on my own. I wanted a small salon that was quaint and cozy. I wanted it to be somewhere other women could come and relax and get away from whatever they needed to be away from. I wanted it to be real. A place where you could come and be yourself. I wanted my salon to be a place of respite. The kind of place I had needed in the year gone past. 

Turning  my terrible circumstances into a single mom success story

The more I worked,  the more I realized so many people needed a hair fix. Their color wasn’t right. Their cuts were messed up. Their color and cut were both messed up. Women all over town had been to salons and not felt comfortable, they felt like they couldn’t be themselves, or they felt like the stylist thought they were better than their clients. They left these salons saying they hadn’t received anything they had wanted.

In under one year, I was booked solid.  I was so booked that I hired an employee to cope with the demand. Then a front desk person because I couldn’t keep up with the phone calls, and now a massage therapist who is steadily getting booked.  Currently, I have five hairstylists, three massage therapists,  one esthetician, two receptionists, and a salon manager.

That ugly little corner unit is now a beautiful and bright salon with updated stations and white walls. We have a fully stocked color bar with just about any color your heart could want. Plus, an entire retail area.


I am a single mom to three amazing kids. I employ twelve people who all make a living working for me. I literally provide income for twelve families plus myself! How cool is that?!

I am a boss babe who is in charge of her future. I own my own house. 

The first big thing I did to celebrate my success was to rent a condo on the beach for five days. It was the most fun vacation we had ever had.

My children are happy and well cared for. They know what love is and how you do and don’t treat people. I am loving life and living life to the fullest!

Did I ever feel like giving up? Yes, I felt like giving up all the time. But I knew if I kept going, if I kept working hard, I could make it through. And in doing so, I was also helping others on their journeys. 

I have met many other women coping with divorce and the feelings of worthlessness that go with it. I know how they feel. And because of my own struggles, I want to help others feel good about themselves. I want them to know how beautiful they are.

I want to show other single mothers, they can, without a man! You are your own destiny. You create it. Work hard and reap the benefits. Live a life you love.

Want to know more about Jessi and her Salon …


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Share the Inspiration
  • Mark says:

    You are strong indeed. This is encouraging and motivating at the same time. Though I’m a man, I felt it. Stay strong.

  • kat says:

    Awesome story and such a captivating read! I love hearing about such strong women; Jessi, if you are reading this, I wish you even more success in the upcoming years!

  • Deborah says:

    INspiring story… loved reading it. It’s never giving up, having hope an no matter what life hands you – turning it around. Really enjoyed reading!

  • Kalyan Panja says:

    Oh wow, it was great reading this single mom success story and looks perfect for those looking for inspiration.

  • Akriti says:

    You never backed down and beat all the odds. You showed everyone that you can achieve anything! Best wishes to you 🙂

  • Erik the Hungry Traveller says:

    Good for you! I love a good success story. Keep on shining

  • Sarah says:

    Very inspiring story. So pleased everything worked out. And Yes you most definitely can without a man!!

  • Cindy Ladage says:

    Very inspiring story. Thank you for sharing. I cannot imagine how hard it was for you to step out on your own like this.

  • If I ever happen to be in Tennessee, I will make sure to stop by for a balayage. You are inspiring, truly inspiring. Congratulations on your well-deserved success.

  • Ye Chen says:

    Amazing success story Jessi! I’m sorry you have to go through this, but you handled it very well. You should be proud of yourself 🙂

  • Girl! I’m so freakin happy for you! I’m definitely motivated by your story. Thank you so much for sharing!

  • Jen says:

    Go Jessi!!!!

    What an amazing article this is. What an inspiration. Reading about the first time you left the cheat, I was like ‘OH YES…what a star, she upped and left…’ and then you went back and I was just thinking ‘oh no! you were so brave, you got out immediately…’ and then you went back!

    But I can totally understand why you did go back. I don’t have children so I can’t comprehend how I would feel if I was married, cheated on and had young children with a cheat. Not many women grow up thinking they want to be a single mother. I can imagine it’s such a wrench because you’ve got to factor in the happiness of your children too. And then (in this case) there’s the shock of the cheating.

    Ultimately though, if you get back with them and get back with them immediately they are definitely not going to change. It reassures them I think that you can’t do without them and won’t leave them if they do it again.

    Underestimated you though didn’t he! It might have taken you a year BUT when you found out he’d done it again there was no stopping you. I am so pleased that this post has a happy ending for you and your children. Think how different your life would have been had you stayed. You lost a year but that’s nothing really in the general scheme of things. It made you stronger and realise your boundaries.

    I bet you wouldn’t tolerate a man cheating on you again! He’d be out on his ear.

    This is sooooo inspiring. I hope women who are in relationships and being cheated on read this and feel empowered. Empowered enough to kick these asses into touch. And LEAVE and find better.

    You go girl! Absolutely excellent post. You’re a star and I wish you all the best with the rest of your life and being happy and successful. xxx

    • Jessi says:

      😭😭😭 Omgosh that’s the nicest thing ever!!!! Thank you 🙏 we are doing amazing and super happy! My ex already has another baby with his flavor of the year, so that’s hard on the kids, but they live with me full time and are happy little buggers 💕

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    Hi, I'm karletta marie.

    JOIN and get your free digital magazine with inspiring stories straight to your inbox PLUS tools to start creating your beautiful life.